In December of last year, local hip-hop collective, Gratis Minds, unleashed their captivating and dense sound with the release of their album, Driven. The awesome turnout for their album launch at Brisbane’s The (New) Crowbar last weekend was an important indicator of the positive reception this new generation of Australian hip-hop is cultivating. Joined by local legends Joey Legit, and SMAK (feat. No One Network), the stacked lineup was a celebration of a diverse scene that’s been snowballing in growth over the past few years.

Everyone in the room joined in rejoicing past accolades and upcoming releases. There was a very real excitement amongst the chatter to appreciate the hard work ethic of all the artists, both in front of the mic and behind it. This celebratory atmosphere really added to the enjoyment of the show.

Kicking off the evening was Joey Legit, an up-and-coming artist with a diverse list of influences that were conveyed in a splendid variation of tracks. Having one such song featuring Gratis’ Jon Do£, Joey paired very well to the artist’s style, whilst remaining irrevocably himself. A fantastic array of experimentation in his performance kept the audience guessing and very much engaged.

Next up, local legend SMAK brought a whole party of talent to the show, some of the best and brightest in the scene. Other No One Network members like Skrub, and Kyle Golly made their support aware first-hand onstage and in the crowd. SMAK is the type of artist who does it all: learning, teaching, creating, and mastering their craft in the process of perfection. Having shown incredible growth in production and lyricism, there is an unrelenting focus displayed in every track SMAK hits. Creations swathed in compassion and fun, SMAK will certainly have many more hits still to come.

Bringing the crowd’s attention to the main event, the excitement had built for hours in anticipation of Gratis Minds. Having been lucky enough to speak to all three members prior to the show and hear about their desires for, and the influences behind, Driven, helped cultivate a deeper understanding and enjoyment of the piece as both a record and live show. Inspired by acts like Brockhampton, the trio gave a truly dynamic performance as they went bar for bar between one another. This powerful display of production, performance, and showmanship only paused for moments between the intros of each song. The flawless show had the crowd repeating the catchy hooks and being immersing themselves in the emotional spiels of each of the characters before them.

There is little more to do than rave in praise about this fine act, Gratis Minds. They are nailing every dynamic in their music including production, lyrics, visuals, performance, and of course their down-to-earth character. One of the most terribly underrated groups around, this decade is surely set to be theirs. A big shoutout goes to everyone that attended the show in these concerning times, the turnout was joyous, and the company even better. Stay focused on Gratis Minds in 2020, they will not disappoint.


PSA: support for crowbar

Gratis Minds’ album launch was one the last gigs for the foreseeable future to go ahead at Crowbar (Brisbane) before strict restrictions on gatherings and social distancing were implemented by the Federal Government due to COVID-19.  We’d like to take this opportunity to stand in solidarity with live music venues and all the brilliant people and businesses in our beloved music industry who are affected.

Crowbar, along with many other local music venues, have announced temporary closures for the foreseeable future. You can read Crowbar’s statement below. In the meantime, you can support Crowbar by ‘Pre-Buying A Beer’ to be redeemed in-house within the next six months.

Statement from crowbar regarding temporary closure

Dear Crowbar family,

It is with great regret we announce the closure of our Sydney and Brisbane locations this week and next. Our first closure in 8 years. We hope to be able to re-open in April but with the frequent changes in government restrictions we’re currently unable to put an end date on our closures.

This is a very unsettling time for everyone, we want to let you all know we tried to hold onto and build events as best we could. But staff and public safety is paramount and we couldn’t continue with the current climate and government recommendations. All event cancellations and rescheduled dates will be announced and ticket holders contacted in the coming days.

Our hearts go out to our industry family; our staff, the bands, roadies, FOH, techs, agents, managers, photographers and videographers, artists, designers, labels, suppliers. The list is endless.

We have an amazing team of casuals with a variety of skills that we are unable to provide shifts to at this time of closure. If you or someone you know is looking for some casual staff through this period please let us know.

Look after yourselves and each other. Keep an eye out on our social media and website for more updates.

Announced 17 March 2020 | Soure: Crowbar Facebook Page

Many people in the Australian Music Community have been negatively impacted by circumstances surrounding COVID-19. If you are in a position to do so, and would like to make a monetary contribution to support music industry personnel, please DONATE TO SUPPORT ACT HERE.

This review is courtesy of Phoenix Radio’s Emerge program, hosted by Calen Le Couteur and Russell Thompson. Follow Emerge and tune in on Monday nights 7-9PM HERE.